There is a definite shift towards a more personalized means of servicing the customer, an approach that offers benefits to both the organization and their clients.
Personalization seems to be one of the major buzzwords in business today, with a growing desire from organizations to personalize the customer experience, despite the associated difficulties this creates for the contact center.
Of course, while personalization seems to be the next big trend being followed by customer service leaders, it is hardly a concept that can be described as ‘new.' After all, your grandparents likely visited their local grocer or ‘mom and pop’ store simply because they received personal service from the owner. It was their local store; the owner would get to know them and understand what their preferences and interests were. He or she could greet them by name, ensure their orders were ready when they arrived and even recommend new products that were likely to garner their interest.
The growing demand from customers for this sort of service stems, at least in part, for people harking back to the so-called ‘good old days,' when everyone knew everyone and businesses treated their customers like family.
Now, while it is quite obvious that a large enterprise cannot be expected to deliver a personal relationship of this nature to individual clients today, there is no reason to think that customer service cannot be personalized to the extent that enables consumers to feel that they are viewed as meaningful to the company.
Modern customers have moved beyond accepting whatever level of service the company designed to provide them with. Today, they are more demanding and expect to be treated well and receive individual attention – and organizations need to deliver this.
One of the major reasons for companies to focus more closely on delivering personalized customer service is the simple fact that today, there is overwhelming competition for the clients’ money that personalizing your service has become a key differentiator. Providing tailored messages and interactions that improve the customer experience can really set your company apart. You can rest assured that if your business is not delivering this, one of your competitors will.
This is a key factor driving organizations towards personalization: the simple fact that customers today are no longer inherently loyal to a company – as may have been the case in your grandparents’ day – they are quite willing to transfer their business elsewhere if better service is perceived.
Thus, it is no longer enough to provide a broad, ‘umbrella-style’ service, as customers now have higher expectations of standards in service. Personalizing your offering to deliver a more focused level of customer service in every interaction and with every customer is vital if you wish to gain mindshare and loyalty. The first benefit of such an approach is that it will boost customer retention, which is both easier and cheaper than acquiring new ones.
This leads directly to a second benefit, which is that by delivering a high level of personalization, those customers that receive it will inevitably feel more connected and engaged with your business. Engaged customers feel happier to be associated with a company and will be more likely to let others know of their enjoyable experiences.
Customers that perceive you to be making genuine efforts towards personalization are likely to reciprocate your organization’s efforts through word-of-mouth and other forms of customer advocacy, like positive reviews on social media platforms. This, in turn, should help to attract other potential customers who may have experienced bad service at one of your competitors.
Of course, companies need to remember that customers today also have a wide range of choices related to which channel they choose to communicate with the business, and they expect to receive a personal experience, regardless of which channel they choose to use.
It should be recognized too that delivering personalization in customer service requires a lot of effort on your organization’s part. It will mean that you need to be able to collect, collate, store and analyze vast amounts of data, obtained from a range of sources and that you must ensure that the entire business is aligned towards achieving this goal.
Remember that – while the contact center may be at the coalface of customer service - it is equally important to make sure that salespeople, managers and anyone else who touches the customer in any way are geared towards delivering the level of personalization required to ensure that every customer’s journey with the company is happy and beneficial.
Furthermore, personalization can be provided in many forms. From calling the customer by name to delivering proactive service that solves problems before the customer may even be aware of them, personal customer service entails delivering round-the-clock service, offering due attention to their needs and meticulously processing their requirements at all times.
In the end, personalized moments at each and every point of customer engagement are what market leading companies are after.
The desire to increase levels of customer service personalization may not be entirely altruistic, but it is a win-win situation for both parties. Personalization leads to trust and can logically be expected to alter customer behavior and buying patterns in favor of a company. While at the same time, it ensures that the customer receives a level of service that is something they can tell their grandparents about.
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.